How to Keep Your Socks from Straying 

What’s this great mystery? The infamous lost sock. You know those that enter the laundry process with an identical mate at their side, only to come out the other end a lonely single.  

Hours are devoted to reuniting separated pairs. Theories and urban tales arise as to why this happens, and a mathematical formula was even devised to predict the likelihood of them straying.

A study in the UK suggests that people lose on average 15 socks a year. Times that by your age, and it can be a staggering number. If you live to 80, that’s 1,200 socks! It's so prevalent that they've even named May 9th as Lost Sock Memorial Day!

How does one increase the odds of a pair socks serving its lifetime paired with its sole mate?

The first step is to understand how they become separated. Three common reasons are:

  1. The sock never makes it to the washing machine in the first place. It’s dropped behind the hamper, dropped behind or to the side of the washing machine when laundry is loaded, or accidentally strays under the bed or other furniture.
  2. The washing machine is overloaded (very common). When this happens small items like socks can easily slip into the inside of the machine. They’ve even been known to plug the pump in the washing machine.
  3. Opposing electrical charges a.k.a. static electricity. This causes clothing to cling together in the dryer, not to mention may give you a hearty zap when you separate them. The lost mate may find itself stuck to the inside of a shirt sleeve, pant leg, or other item; often not discovered for several days. 

Here are a few suggestions to keep your socks united:

  1. Mesh bags. Use a mesh laundry bag for your sock hamper. These easily allow soapy water to clean your socks, and the heat in the dryer to dry them quickly and easily. A pillowcase will also serve in a pinch. Mesh bags come in a variety of sized to suite your needs.
  2. Pair your socks when they go into the hamper. There are many devices you can use to keep your socks together. Pair socks with a safety pin or a binder clip. Both will easily go through the wet and dry cycles of laundry. You’ll also find a variety of products and options available in home goods or home container stores. 
  3. Lost sock container. Socks will separate no matter what you do. Dedicate a container to store single socks until you can reunite them with their lost mate. 

Whether your socks are practical or make a statement, keeping them together will create harmony in your household and wardrobe.